If you haven’t heard yet, Tom Brady is coming back to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2022 for what will be his 23rd season in the NFL.
Shortly after the news broke Sunday evening, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians released a statement, saying, “Tom Brady loves to play football as much as anyone I have ever been around. As Tom said, his place right now is on the football field. He is still playing at a championship level and was as productive as anyone in the league last season. We are ecstatic that he decided to continue playing and working toward winning another championship.”
It was Brady’s level of play, despite a disappointing playoff loss to the eventual champion Los Angeles Rams, that had a lot of people somewhat surprised a quarterback nearing the age of 45 would retire.
In fact, several times in the past Brady had said he’d retire when he ‘sucked’, which he most definitely did not the last time we saw him throwing a football.
There was also speculation this offseason his ‘retirement’ was a leverage play to force a trade to the San Francisco 49ers, the team he grew up cheering for, and a franchise that’s come up just short several times over the past few years in their own pursuits for a Lombardi Trophy.
At the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this month, Arians poured water on that idea.
The man who would have orchestrated that deal had it happened would’ve been Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht, who also commented after the announcement of Brady’s return.
“We are thrilled that Tom has decided to come back this season,” Licht said in the statement. “We said we would leave all options open for him should he reconsider his retirement and today’s announcement is something we have been preparing for in recent days. Bruce and I have had plenty of conversations with Tom recently that led us to believe there was a realistic chance he would want to come back. Tom is the greatest quarterback of all time who is still playing at an elite level. With this decision now made, we will continue to move forward with our offseason plans to reload this roster for another championship run.”
Of course, prior to Sunday evening’s development, the big question was whether or not the Buccaneers would go in enough to bring Houston Texan’s quarterback Deshaun Watson to Tampa, an idea not everyone was on board with in the first place.
Thankfully, the Bucs won’t have to make that decision and can go into free agency and the NFL Draft period looking to restock the arsenal with as many known players as possible, and fresh talent as needed.